Written by Zulfick Farzan
11 Jul, 2021 | 12:44 am
COLOMBO (News 1st); More than 220 sea turtles have died following the X-Press Pearl disaster, said Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Attorney-at-Law Darshani Lahandapura on Saturday (10).
‘There is a connection between the deaths of sea turtles and the X-Press Pearl disaster,’ she said via a Facebook live post.
She said the Department of Wildlife, the Government Analysts Department and the Veterinary Research Institute in Peradeniya are conducting tests on the deaths of the marine life.
In addition, samples from the marine life will be sent to overseas laboratories in order to obtain expert advise on certain areas, she added.
‘When we file reports with the court they will become public documents and then we can make available the details to the general public,’ she said noting that some material is sensitive in nature.
2200 MT of plastic waste was collected from Sri Lankan shores following the X-Press Pearl disaster and the waste was stored at a facility that is equipped to handle hazardous waste material, she said adding that the Central Environmental Authority had classified the waste from the X-Press Pearl as hazardous material.
‘The waste will be disposed in an eco-friendly manner,’ she added.
Darshani Lahandapura stressed Sri Lanka will have to continue monitoring the beaches in the months to come to carry out beach clean-up operations as plastic waste including nurdles can wash up on the shores.
Sri Lanka has already activated the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan or NOSCOP and identified 15 separate entities that are experts in addressing an oil spill.
Speaking on the compensation claim by Sri Lanka from the owners of the X-Press Pearl, Attorney-at-Law Darshani Lahandapura said Sri Lanka’s first interim claim is $USD 40 million of which the owners have agrees to pay Rs. 720 million.
‘They have not denied paying the balance of the interim claim, however, they have requested us to provide further evidence and supporting documents for the claim,’ she added.
Lahandapura said there will be multiple interim claims made from the owners of the X-Press Pearl and all these claims will be for the expenses incurred by Sri Lankan authorities.
In order to claim damages caused to Sri Lanka’s marine environment a panel of 41 experts from diverse sectors have been appointed to study and submit a report to MEPA within three months.
‘The claim for marine damages will not be a small amount,’ she hinted during MEPAs Facebook live post.
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